The “buy 1 get 2 free” are cheaper however, manufacturers use cheap canvas, but most importantly they use cheap grades of wood for the stretcher that’s processed quickly and it has a high probability of warping. The manufacturer often from another country assembles these fast and shrink wraps them, then: they are transported (outside) to an art store, sit on shelf (new climate), you purchase and take to studio (outside), you open the package in your studio (new climate), paint it and then it sits and dries along with your painting, you transport it to the gallery (outside), it hangs in the gallery (new climate), then the client transports it (outside) and hangs it in their home (new climate). Each step in the process exposes the canvas/frame to a drastic change in climate (where it either absorbs or loses humidity) that raises the probability of warping. The larger the canvas, the longer the wood stretcher bars (the cheap canvas doesn’t have extra cross-boards for support) the higher probability of warping.
Framed canvas may be forced straight by framing but unframed canvas is most susceptible to dryness/humidity. The paint & varnish only covers and seals the front; the back is still at the mercy of the climate. Many artists use the cheap canvases, and after painting and drying in their studio, many have warped and have to be re-stretch. Very stressful for the artist and cost extra time and money.
That said, it all comes down to: the artist’s level (beginner, emerging, intermediate or professional) and the price of your work. Personally: If I bought a painting for $50 from an emerging artist and it warped, I probably would understand and wouldn’t be too upset. If I spent $500 for a painting from a professional and it warped, then I’d probably call the gallery/artist and reconsider whether I’d buy another piece from that artist.
If you have to use the cheap canvases now, then that’s the way it is just price accordingly. If you are working to be a pro, then start a budget and cut some other expenses to get better quality supplies.
STRETCHED CANVASES – Made in Canada
Our Canvases are the the perfect base for all painters. Canvases are double primed, 10 oz 100% cotton canvas, stretched and back-stapled on our 3/4″ (20mm) thick, primed with acid-free acrylic titanium gesso. It is an ideal surface specially crafted for acrylic and oil painting. This canvas is a perfect base to create a durable piece of artwork that will endure for years. These are professional quality “Made in Canada” products.
Donna Child, Gallery Director – Artworld Fine Art